Sometimes it's the little things
Laura Nation-Atchison/The Daily Home

Anita Brown of Talladega is a huge Chuck Wagon Gang fan and this month, got to hear them for the tenth time in person and two days later, via a cell phone call from a friend at another performance.
If you think she’s a little bit obsessive, well, maybe she is.

But Anita Brown will tell you in a heartbeat how much she loves the music of The Chuck Wagon Gang and has since she first heard them on the radio riding home from a cousin’s house in Gadsen when she was just 13-years-old.

Having been blind from birth, Brown didn’t have the opportunity to hop in a car and go hear her heroes whenever she wanted to.

But with help from friends, she’s now heard them 10 times, most recently April 12 at The Top of the River in Gadsden and then again, in a little bit of a different way, April 14.

Her most recent “concert” came via a telephone call when friend Gene Patrick “G Pat” Atkison happened to be at the United Methodist Church in Rainbow City when The Chuck Wagon Gang was performing.

He knew well of Brown’s love for their music, got an idea, and it worked.

“He met someone who had a cell phone with unlimited minutes and asked if he could call me and let me listen,” Brown said.

Of course, she was elated and stayed on the phone over an hour listening to her favorite singers, sometimes even singing along with them.

“It just wasn’t long enough,” she said with the happy memory spreading a smile across her face.

Brown’s happy nature is a joy to experience, she doesn’t consider herself limited by the lack of vision to have a happy life.

And all you have to do is ask, and she’ll belt out a Chuck Wagon Gang favorite for you, she has a beautiful singing voice and has even been invited to sing with her favorite performers.

While on the telephone listening to her most recent concert, members of “The Gang” even issued a personal “hello” to her, who they refer to as “their biggest fan,” Brown tells.

“I get neck hugs when I’m there in person,” she said.

Brown finds joy in their music because she believes in the members’ sincerity in glorifying God through song and of course, because she loves their musical style.

“I love the simple harmony, and I know when they sing, they really want to glorify the lord,” she said. And you can tell that when you hear them.”

After attending The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Brown worked for the Alabama Industries for the Blind for 25 years.

She retired three years ago and came to the Institute when she was 6 to go to school from her family’s home in Altoona.

Her love of singing started with her father, the late Royce Brown, who died in 2010 at the age of 85.

“I guess we started singing together when I was about 2-years-old,” Brown said.

“When we sang together, it was usually gospel, but when he sang alone, it was usually country music,” she said.

Brown still loves the memories of singing with her father, and when she sings, it makes her feel closer to him.

Her happy outlook comes from her belief that in the end, she knows what comes after life on Earth.

“I find my joy in knowing Jesus is our personal savior, and that if you’re a Christian, when you leave this world, you’re going home with him to a place where there’s no suffering, there’s no crime, and it’s all going to be joy.”

With that, Brown returns to her apartment where she lives independently, enjoying her beloved music and “reading” through vision impaired devices.

As she closes the door to her apartment, she starts humming a favorite Chuck Wagon tune, a smile on her face, the songs in her heart bursting out.

© 2012